A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a church leadership conference and to sit with several members of one church staff. The church had sent about 7 of the key staff members to the conference, including the Youth Pastor and Senior Pastor. The conference was great, with the Key Note speaker (name withheld) telling us the hard truth on many topics related to leading the local church. It was challenging, yet refreshing.
This church staff was doing everything together, evaluating the things they were learning, sharing meals, etc., but when it was time for the lunch break – the Youth Pastor was missing. He never showed up for lunch, didn’t respond to phone calls or messages. The group (especially the Senior Pastor) was concerned.
Eventually the next session began with worship and a few other things, still no Youth Pastor. But just as the Key Note speaker began – he arrived at his seat, next to the Senior Pastor.
You guys won’t believe where I’ve been! I was in the hall headed to the restroom and ran into him (the Key Note). I decided this was the opportunity of a lifetime, so I said “If you will give me 30 minutes one day, I will drive the 6 hours it takes to get here. I really need to ask you a few things.”
Apparently the Key Note was moved by his sincerity, and instead invited him to lunch in the Green Room. He spent more than the requested 30 minutes, and answered all of the questions. It was obviously a huge deal to the Youth Pastor, and the group was excited for their friend and fellow staff member. The Senior Pastor was especially impressed.
As the Key Note began the next session he said “I want to take a moment and say something to the Senior pastors out there. Some of you really need to work on developing your leadership skills. I just had lunch with a Youth Pastor who offered to drive 6 hours to meet with me because he wanted to find out how to deal with being a better leader than his Senior Pastor.”
That may have been one of the most awkward moments I have ever witnessed.